The prosecutor in my California DUI case offered me "speed ex" as a plea bargain. Should I accept?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Aug 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Vehicle Code 23109(c) VC "exhibition of speed"--also known as "speed ex"--is a fairly common vehicular crime in California. The legal definition of an exhibition of speed is driving or accelerating at an unsafe speed, in order to show off for someone else.

Conceptually, speed ex has very little to do with the major California DUI charges (Vehicle Code 23152(a) driving under the influence and Vehicle Code 23152(b) driving with a BAC of 0.08 or above). But for some relatively lucky DUI defendants, speed ex can be the result of a successful DUI plea bargain strategy

A plea to VC 23109(c) exhibition of speed offers a number of major advantages over a DUI conviction. These include:

  • Exhibition of speed does not carry a mandatory driver's license suspension.
  • Exhibition of speed carries a shorter maximum jail sentence and usually carries lower fines than DUI.
  • Speed ex is not priorable--which means it will not increase the potential penalties if you later catch another DUI.
  • Speed ex carries a shorter probation period than DUI--which means you have less of a chance of having to face the penalties for a probation violation.

This is not to say that exhibition of speed is a magic bullet. It is still a California misdemeanor, and as such it does carry potential jail time and criminal fines. But it is usually considered a better alternative to the common DUI charge reductions of "wet reckless" and "dry reckless." 

And speed ex plea deals are usually only offered to defendants when the prosecution is concerned about the weakness of their evidence against you--and suspect that you and your DUI defense attorney will know how to take advantage of that weakness! (For more information, see our article What should I do if a California cop tells me to get out of the car during a stop?)

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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